This book starts out with an interesting premise – the main character, Kelsa, magicked into her grandfather’s body – but the possibilities are not explored fully, especially when it comes to her reaction to romantic encounters. There is also the problem of empathy when the person she becomes takes over our attention, and we forget the sympathetic girl (young woman?) we met at the beginning.
Kelsa takes her grandfather’s place, going to court to battle the intrigue and rivalry in his old regiment caused by mistrust and prejudice between magicians and regular cavalrymen. This part of the story is carefully crafted and realistic in nature.
An interesting point; this book is written in tightly subjective first person, giving us very detailed reactions to everything that is going on. However, this style has the opposite effect to what we might expect. Instead of feeling the emotional effects of the events more strongly, we are actually held away from them, filtering everything through the controlling screen of Kelsa’s thoughts. Likewise, just as a person can’t see herself without a mirror, we lose track of Kelsa as she works herself into the role of the Hero of Jerkum Pass.
The part that works the best is the personal question of who her grandfather really was, a quandary that continues at all levels as she twists and turns through the multiple plots.
Once we get to the end, when finally the rebellion and its aftermath occur, the intrigue turns to action for a while but then fades back into the description of the action from Kelsa’s point of view. The finale is a nicely constructed plot twist which leads us naturally into the next book in the series without completely satisfying our desire for completion.
Except for an overly controlled point of view, this is a smoothly written book with a well-constructed plotline. Recommended for Fantasy readers who like court intrigue as a main conflict.(4 / 5)